What Employees Want to Share on Social Media [New Research]

What do employees want to share on social media?

That’s an essential question that companies should ask. Employees, after all, are the linchpin that holds together employee advocacy programs. Without knowledge of employees’ wants and needs, there won’t be widespread adoption, and you won’t see results.

Nonetheless, employees’ voices are missing from the research on the subject. Until now, employee advocacy surveys have focused on the buyers of advocacy solutions. Research reports have discussed companies’ plans for launching advocacy programs, but no one knows what employees want.

To dive into employees’ content preferences and opinions, we surveyed 400 U.S. employees, and here are three key takeaways from our survey The Trapit Content Report: Employee Outlook on Content Marketing and Distribution.

Too Many Companies Are Winging It

Organizations with more sophisticated programs have implemented systems and strategies that guide their employees. However, too many companies are still winging it.

One survey question threw this point into sharp relief. The majority of respondents (56.5%) indicated that they are encouraged to share content on social media during meetings.

Let’s think about this strategy for a second. First, employers are encouraging employees to share content during meetings, yet meetings are a time when we want employees to focus on what’s being said – not writing tweets or LinkedIn status updates. Hmm…

Second, few employees (28.2%) are encouraged to share content through technology. Without technology in place, how are you going to measure the impact of your employees’ social sharing?

Employees See the Value in Advocacy

To marketers, the benefits of social media are evident. But do your employees understand the benefits of sharing content on social media?

Curious to know the answer, we asked our survey respondents what benefits their companies see when employees share content with their social networks. The vast majority (74.9%) identified some type of benefit. (Only 10.2% saw no benefits whatsoever.)

  • 11.2% said, “Sales – people buy our products when we talk about them positively”
  • 42.7% said, “Awareness – people take notice when we share information about our company”
  • 21.0% said, “Brand credibility – people trust our brand more when we share from our personal accounts”

Side note: Perhaps it’s not surprising that more respondents did not choose “Sales,” given that many marketers are still learning how to track the ROI of social media.

Employees Want Third-Party Content – Not Just Branded Content

As marketers, we invest large amounts of time and energy into creating content. Of course, we want our employees to see our content and acknowledge our hard work by sharing our blog posts, reports, infographics, slide decks, etc.

However, that’s not exactly what employees want. Sure, they want to share the company’s content, but they also want to share third-party content on social media.

  • 55.0% of respondents indicated that sharing a mixture of third-party and company-created content is best for social media.

When we asked respondents to indicate their content preferences more forthrightly, the most common answer was related to third-party content. 33.7% of employees indicated that they are most likely to share news articles about the industry on social media.

The finding points up the need for third-party content curation. If companies want their employees to act as content distributors, companies should not only provide company-created content, but also information from around the web.

How to Apply This Knowledge

The opinions of 400 survey respondents should shape employee advocacy programs in two ways:

1. Before asking employees to share content on social media, organizations need to take the time to build an infrastructure:

  • Document a strategy across the enterprise
  • Select software that enables content storage, notifications, and social sharing
  • Provide employees with clear guidelines for sharing content.

2. Give your employees what they want. The survey results show that employees are happy to share company-created content, but they don’t want to be corporate spam bots. They want to share third-party content, as well.

With those pieces in place, you’ll be well on your way to launching a strong employee advocacy program.

Check out the Full Survey Results

Download our survey and find out more about employees’ outlook on content marketing and distribution.

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